The Energy Transition in Germany
From 17 until 22 June 2013, Ecologic Institute implemented a program on the German Energy Transition for 20 international experts and journalists. Participants were able to speak with representatives from ministries, parliament, think tanks, and NGOs in Berlin and Hamburg. Both national policies and examples of local and regional implementation of the German energy policy were highlighted during the tour.
The program started with a dinner talk with R. Andreas Kraemer, Director of Ecologic Institute, where he introduced Germany's decision to phase out nuclear energy and rapidly increase the usage of renewable energy sources. The next four days were filled with engaging discussions and presentations by experts spread across a number of fields, allowing the participants to gain a broad understanding of the economic, technological, and societal changes taking place in Germany as a result of the Energiewende.
The participants, representing 18 different countries, also had opportunities to learn from each other and to give presenters a better idea of what issues and questions were of most importance in their home countries.
The program included the following events:
- Meeting with Rainer Baake, Director, Agora Energiewende on the political and technical framework for renewable energy policy in Germany and Europe.
- Presentation and discussion with Dr. Hinrich Thölken, Head of Division, International Climate and Environmental Policy and Stefan Bantle, Head of Section, International Energy Policy incl. EU Energy Policy, both of the German Federal Foreign Office
- Guided tour of an the intergenerational passive house Schönholzer Straße in the center of Berlin with architect Christoph Deimel.
- Meeting at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) with Dr. Susanne Cassel, Head of Division, Coordination of the Energy Transition.
- Dr. Jan Scharlau, LLM, Division Climate Law, Emissions Trading, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) presented to the group and later took part in a discussion relating to key elements of the German energy concept until 2050 and the energy transition.
- Ramazan Korkmaz and Hendrik Pinnau of the city-state of Hamburg’s Department of Urban Development and Environment (BSU) discussed strategies and successes of Hamburg’s local level energy transition policies.
- Presentation on a "virtual powerplant" and energy efficiency in Hamburg, by Jan Riepe, EU-Projekt TRANSFORM, Onnen Heitmann, Project leader virtual power plant and Dr. Jan Sudeikatfrom HAMBURG ENERGIE.
- A tour of the International Building Exhibition Hamburg with project coordinator Simona Weisleder, showed examples of energy efficient living, and highlighted the reuse of the former Georgswerder landfill to now produce renewable energy. Also part of the tour was the "Energy Bunker", a renovated World War II monument that has been renovated and converted into a power plant using renewable forms of energy, with a large heat reservoir.
A trip to the energy self-sufficient village of Feldheim in Brandenburg, which has installed private local heating and power grids, showed the group one of Germany's examples of local energy autonomy.
A Riverside Chat entitled "The German Energy Transition in a European Context", had as additional guests experts from the Berlin policy, NGO, think-tank, and scientific community in Berlin, which allowed for a broader discussion in a less structured format.
The program was sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office and organized by the Ecologic Institute in close cooperation with the German Embassies.